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Who’s to blame for World Relays fiasco?

Published:Wednesday | May 13, 2015 | 12:00 AMDania Bogle
Blake ... I will address all issues

NOT for the first time, serious controversy surrounds the matter of a Jamaican athlete representing the country at an international competition.

The question now is of accountability and possible censure for double world sprint champion, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and her coach, Stephen Francis, for the athlete's failure to compete at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays in The Bahamas earlier this month.

Fraser-Pryce was fit and ready to run in the women's 4x100m, but was later withdrawn.

Jamaica eventually won in a world-leading time of 42.14 seconds.

Conflicting reports suggest that Fraser-Pryce was withdrawn by Francis after a request for her to run in the heats, in addition to the final of the 4x100m, was refused.

However, Francis, who heads the MVP Track and Field Club, has suggested that he did not make the final decision on whether the reigning 100m Olympic champion would compete in the event.

Technical leader for Jamaica's team to the World Relays, Maurice Wilson, told The Gleaner shortly after the competition ended that the fault lay at the feet of 'miscommunication' and that clear guidelines needed to be established to avoid a repeat.

"My recommendation to the selection committee is that every single athlete that is interested in representing Jamaica at an event like this where there is no trial, that they make sure that the athletes indicate their fitness by putting down some performances before the meet," said Wilson.


system of accountability


Head of the Racers Track Club, Glen Mills, who conditions double sprint world record holder, Usain Bolt, said that part of the issue lies in the fact that there is no system of accountability.

"I think coaches will push the boundaries as hard as they can, especially in a situation where there is not that great accountability for whatever actions are taken. As it is now, there isn't any process of accountability," Mills told The Gleaner in an interview.

The Gleaner contacted Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association president, Dr Warren Blake, who was preparing to depart the island yesterday.

Blake said that he would be making a statement to address the issues once he had received all his reports, including whether there would be censure for the parties involved.

Blake was not prepared to give a timeline as to when a final decision would be made.

"When I make my statement, I will address all the issues," he reiterated.